Located on the outskirts of Kalamazoo College’s campus, the Kzoo Cat Cafe is home to 37 cats and kittens that are no stranger to K students. Before campus was closed down, Kalamazoo College students flocked to this place between study sessions and club meetings for snacks, a hot beverage, and a big boost of serotonin from the friendly felines at the cafe. However, the recent outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 has affected small businesses and non-profits in many different ways, and the Kzoo Cat Cafe was no exception.
“We had to close,” said owner and founder of the Kzoo Cat Cafe, Abbey Thompson, when asked about how the pandemic affected the non-profit. “But I posted on facebook… and we had around 30-something cats, the same amount that we have now, that we got out to foster homes that day. That was crazy.”
While these loving cats may have lacked visitor interaction for a few months due to the unforeseen circumstances from the pandemic, they were able to live with foster families that took great care of them until the cafe was able to safely open again. “We still tried to do adoptions, but we couldn’t do meet-and-greets, so it was pretty tough,” said Thompson. “In terms of keeping the cafe afloat, we run off the entry fees so we were not in a good spot. Luckily we are able to do appointments now, but prior to [the pandemic] we had 40 to 50 people here on a busy Saturday.”
“On February 1st of this year we had our 400th adoption, and we’re about to hit 600 through Covid!”
Luckily, the Kzoo Cat Cafe has been able to bounce back recently, not only by making single-party appointments available every day of the week, but due to their strong group of supporters in the Kalamazoo area. “People have really been great about donating, coming in to visit, and adopting which we have still been able to do. And on February 1st of this year we had our 400th adoption, and we’re about to hit 600 through Covid,” said Thompson. A simple web search shows that this is congruent with the national trend of increased adoptions during the pandemic, as people are more likely to adopt a furry friend to join their quarantining. Thompson also added that the cafe is looking into a possible new, larger location for the cats in the near future.
Thompson said that the biggest thing she wants people to know about the Kzoo Cat Cafe is just what they are and to come and visit. “People will be like ‘Oh I don’t want to adopt a cat,’ and I say you don’t have to! Just come have a cup of coffee or a Sprite!” The appointment process is very straightforward on the kzoocatcafe.com and the cafe is open every day, says Thompson. She also urges people to take advantage of volunteer opportunities if they are interested!